- Teacher turnover--Iowa--Prevention; First year teachers--Supervision of--Iowa;
New teacher retention has been identified as a critical issue as nearly half of all new teachers leave the profession by the end of their fifth year. This study was designed to identify ways of providing better support for new teachers to retain them in the profession. A qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews, was conducted with 20 new teachers who had left the profession with five or fewer years of teaching. Audio tapes of the interviews were transcribed and the data coded. Using a constant-comparative method, common themes were identified. Member checks were used for both the transcripts and the identified themes to provide trustworthiness in the data. Peer reviews of the coding process and analysis of data were also utilized.
Participants in this study offered nine reasons for leaving teaching, which were categorized as either school characteristics or individual characteristics. School characteristics were factors the new teachers encountered when they began their teaching position and included student behaviors, parents, mentors and colleagues, administrators, work load, and salary. Individual characteristics were the factors the new teachers brought with them to the position and included personal characteristics, efficacy, and preparation. Analysis of the characteristics revealed implications for this study, which included the following. First, there will be natural attrition that includes new teachers as well as those who are nearing retirement. Some teachers will leave regardless of any efforts to improve their situation, and some new teachers need to leave because they were never meant to be in the profession. Second, new teachers identified multiple reasons for their decision to leave, but it was a combination of factors that varied according to each individual teacher's situation. Third, some of the issues identified by new teachers can be addressed by those who have control within the schools or communities, but others can be addressed only by the new teachers themselves. Fourth, educational stakeholders--teacher preparation programs, school districts, and mentoring programs--can make a difference. Each has responsibilities to help the new teachers through their induction into the profession and to provide a smooth transition from student to professional.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dianna_briggs/1/